Russell Anderson must wait until the middle of January for his next game – after being red-carded in his first 90 minutes in 14 months last night.
The former Aberdeen defender is back from a long-term knee ligament problem, but was sent off for a foul, conceding a penalty. in injury-time as Sunderland Reserves beat Wigan 3-0 last night.
The offence ensures a one-match ban and, with the reserves having no more league games this month, Anderson faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines, until the second of two January reserve games – against Manchester United on January 19.
Anderson insisted: "The most important thing to come out of the game was to get 93 minutes under my belt. It was disappointing not to finish the game, but this was still the first 90 minutes I have played for 14 months and that's a good thing for me.
"I know some players might not think much of playing reserve-team football, but, for me, it's huge.
"I need to play games, it's as simple as that, and any kind of game I can get is beneficial for me.
"Unfortunately, it will be a little while until I get another one now because I will be suspended, but there's not much I can do about that."
It is heartbreaking for Anderson, who is out of contract at the end of the season and knows he needs to play games if he is to find another club.
"I'm out of contract in the summer, so I need to play games either here or somewhere else," he added.
"If something happens in January, that's great – but time will tell."